Information courtesy of the
The Ayurvedic Center
Ayurveda, literally the "science of life and longevity" in ancient Sanskrit,
is the oldest healing system in the world in continuous practice. It dates over
3000 years, with roots going back even further. It is the worlds first holistic
system of health maintenance, based on lifestyle, diet and herbs. It was
discovered that the taste of an herb determines its action: cleansing, balancing
or rejuvenating. Generally, bitter tasteing herbs clear and cleanse, whereas
sweeter herbs tend to be nourishing and rebuilding. In contrast, vitamins
therapy assumes there is a deficency, if one does not exist, they are simply
excreted by the body.
Ayurveda is based on an individual approach to correct imbalances before they
develop into diseases. It relates to modern preventive medicine through five
process to maintain optimum health : detoxification and cleansing, boosting the
effectiveness of the immune system, helping the body cope with stress with
adaptogenic herbs, protecting the body with antioxidants, and rejuvenative
tonics that keep the body toned to retard the aging process.
When imbalances do occur, the goal is first to control the inflammatory
reaction of the immune system with a proven system of herbal healthcare. Herbs
like guduchi and guggul act as " immunomodulators " because their balancing
effect both controls inflammation and enhances the body's natural defenses. The
use of imunomodulating herbs is central to herbal medicine, supporting the
body's immune system to deal with allergens. Combined with detox, the system
becomes stronger and we note fewer reactions to allergens of all kinds. Attempts
at suppression of the immune response only leads to greater and greater
recurring symptoms. The next step is to follow guidelines based on Ayurvedic
principles for a return to balance and rejuvenation.
The concept of a gentle and continuous detoxification in formulas like
triphala, stems from the fact that many ailments and diseases are causes by
impurities not being properly eliminated. Overeating in excess of one's ability
to digest and assimilate nutrients is a major cause of creating toxins in the
body. Improper digestion leads to overloading the liver and eliminative
processes. The body reacts to undigested food like any other toxin. Ayurvedic
cooking is light but nourishing, using herbs that enhance digestion and proper
assimilation. Supporting the liver and improving digestion also results in a
purer blood quality that is reflected in healthier skin and hair. For other
herbs to enter the system, first it must be cleaned.
We are constantly subjected to free radicals in our environment, and the
oxidative cell damage by free radicals is a major cause of degenerative diseases.
Antioxidants scavenge these free radicals and limit the damage. The Ayurvedic
phamacology* contains some of the most powerful antioxidant herbs available to
prevent degenerative diseases. For example, Amalaki, or Indian Gooseberry is
prized for its concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin C . This herb has
been taken for centuries as an herbal jam called Chyavanprash, fortified with
other balancing herbs as an antioxidant to prevent the occurrence of free
radical chain reactions.
Adaptogenic herbs have the ability to work as a biological response modifier
to environmental and psychological stress. Adaptogens in herbs like ashwagandha
support adrenal function by supporting the endocrine system. Through glandular
support, they have a broad spectrum effect, energizing all major systems as well
as regulating their function as well.
Ayurvedic texts contained complete sections on anti-aging. The "rasayanas"
were the rejuvenative tonics that kept cells young and helped reverse age
related damage. The objective is that all functions of the body are kept toned
and working at optimum effectiveness. The use of herbal tonics as a part of a
daily health regimen is found everywhere in traditional medicine. It is a
concept that not only incorporates all the concepts of detox, antioxidant,
immunomodulation and adaptogenic as well, but focuses on development of a
specific lifestyle plan including individual dietary and exercise guidelines as
well. Since we are all unique in our own way, best results occur when we follow
a regimen designed specifically for us. Hence an Ayurvedic practitioner's role
today is to complement acute care medicine with a viable system of health
Ayurvedic Perspectives on Modern Diseases
Ayurvedic Guidelines for Cancer Prevention
Our body cells are surrounded by fluids which should be slightly alkaline in
order to sustain life. If these fluids, especially the blood, becomes more
acidic, our physical condition will first manifest fatigue and tendencies to
catch colds and flu. As these fluids become more acidic, our condition increases
to headaches and chronic fatigue. Our body will begin to deposit these excess
acid forming substances in some area of the body such as breasts in women or the
prostate in men. Cells which adapt to an acid enviornment are called malignant.
Ayurveda recommends an on-balance alkaline forming diet to maintain healthy
cells. High acid forming foods such as eggs, red meats, cheese and sugar should
be replaced with moderate to low acid forming foods such as whole grains and
legumes. The majority of foods shold be alkaline forming such as those found in
seasonal fruits and vegetables and natural condiments such as soy. You can
receive a free copy of acid & alkaline forming foods by email. For more
information on this subject, read Acid & Alkaline, By Herman Aihara, now
available from our selection of books to support balance in body mind and spirit.
Important lifestyle routines which help alkalanize are breathing excercises and
warm-cold showers. Polarity Therapy and other stress reducing routines are
essential to healing (see article below on Stress Management).
Herbs should be taken which help clean the blood of excess acidity and
restore health. Traditionally, bitter herbs such as amalaki, manjista or guggul
have been incorporated into balanced formulas such as triphala which can be
taken over longer periods of time for health maintenance (please refer to herb
history page). The great law of cause and effect is always operating and cannot
be circumvented by only relieving symtoms. However, the law cuts both ways - by
understanding how the disease was created, we can find the path back to health.
Lastly, it is important to remember that every situation has a front as well as
a back if we just will look for it.
Gugglus for Maintaining Healthy Joints and Heart
One of the oldest and most famous herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine, Gugglu (
commiphora mukul ) is a gum resin and a relative of the Biblical botanical myrrh.
There is a is a whole class of formulas containing gugglu combined with other
herbs. Gugglu is considered an antiseptic and a carrier of herbs with specific
properties which are needed for restoring balance for healthy joints. It was
discovered that Gugglu being a resin, contained a sticky quality which attracts
it to the synovial fluid in the joints. For example, if there was dryness or a
lack of synovial fluid , gugglus resinous qualities acted as a lubricant (Yogaraj
Gugglu)and foods to balance vata were given.
Toxins ( called ama ) which are formed mainly from undigested protein are
also sticky and attracted to synovial fluid. From time to time , the immune
system flushes these toxins out and this process creates an inflammatory
condition. Arthritis is the name modern medicine give to this process when it
becomes chronic. Herbs which have a cooling and cleansing quality (Kaishore
Gugglu) were given in these situations, with foods to balance a pitta
aggravation. If there was more of a kapha condition present with excess fluids
and swelling, the appropriate drying foods were given and diuretics were
combined (Punarnavadi or Goksuradi Gugglu) to clear fluids and help to restore
balance to the tissues. Boswellia (salai guggal) is a tree gum resin with
similar properties combined with other herbs to treat inflammatory conditions (Artrex
More recently the cleansing properties of Gugglu have been discovered in the
treatment of elevated blood cholesterol. Ancient texts reveal Ayurvedic
physicians diagnosed the condition we call arteriosclerosis ( hardening of the
arteries ) before 600 B.C. They described it as characterized by over eating and
a lack of exercise which impaired metabolism and obstructed channels with fatal
results. To treat it they used gugglus. Not surprisingly many Ayurvedic heart
formulas contain gugglu combined with arjuna, which supports heart function and
ashwagandha an adaptogen which increases tolerance to stress in our modern
Maintaining Healthy Blood Glucose Levels
Digestion and Assimilation of nutrients.
Ayurveda looks at proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients as a the
root of health or disease. In blood sugar problems it is important to create an
orderly breakdown of carbohydrates in the system.There are three types of
carbohydrates. The simplest form are the monosaccharides, of which the most
important for us is glucose. Next are the disaccharides, the most important
being sucrose, lactose and maltose. Polysaccharides are the last type, which are
very complex, being composed of enormous molecules made of many monosaccharide
units - about 10 for glycogen, 25 for starch and 110 to 200 for cellulose.
Having small molecules, monosaccharides reach the intestinal wall and are
directly absorbed into the body. Disaccharides must be broken down to
monosaccharides by various enzymes, then absorbed by the intestinal wall. The
absorption of these carbohydrates is very fast and within a short time glucose
enters the bloodstream, upsetting the level of glucose in the blood. The liver
and pancreas are called in to restore balance. As these situations continue, the
adrenals begin to respond, resulting in organ fatigue. However, in the case of
polysaccharides, the larger molecules have to pass through many levels of
digestion, slowing the rate of absorption into the bloodstream. Therefore, a
diet including more whole grains is helpful in maintaing healthy blood sugar
Gymnema sylvestre (shardunika)has been used in Ayurvedic formulas for
centuries to assist in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, stimulate the
production of insulin and reduce the craving for sweets.It can be purchased as a
single herb in tablet or capsule form or purchased in proprietary formulations
such as Sweet Ease or Glucosim.
Blood sugar problems can be found in both pitta and kapha disorders. The
incomplete buring of from direct ingestion of simple carbohydrates contributes
to high acid levels in the body aggravating pitta. On the other hand, high kapha
levels tend to suppress the production of insulin. If you are having blood sugar
problems, You may find it helpful to take the self-test and use Ayurveda to
establish a direction for you to move back to balance and health.
Prana is the vital life force that supports mind and body. It is like the
electricity that drives an electric appliance. The appliance, like our mind and
body is inoperable without it. It is also known as chi in China (as in Tai Chi)
and Ki in Japan (as in Reiki). Prana takes five forms: prana supports
respiration, apana is the downward energy which supports elimination, samana
distributes nourishment, vyana supports motor function and udana is the upward
force that supports functions like our ability to speak. This intelligent force
is also known as Kundalini, when seen in her role in our spiritual unfolding.
According to Ayurveda, disease and delusion develop when this vital life
force is blocked by continued holding tension in the body as a reaction to
stressful situations. Stress is a mind-body reaction which occurs when we do not
have the energy needed to deal with the situation at hand. Long term situations
often are job or relationship related or just from living from modern social
values related to over achievement without taking time off to rejuvenate body
and mind. We can certainly question our beliefs if we find that they are not
Human beings or human doings? Being must presuppose doing, so we can never
accomplish anything without first just being. So honoring just being can't be
less important than doing or achieving? Spirit is whole in itself, like a circle
or a cell. A cell divides itself into another like itself in the process of
mitosis and another whole is created with both energies in balance. So it is
only gross ignorance that judges being as less important than doing. Relaxation
honors being, the key to maintaining balance with doing. Nature shows that we
balance activity with rest in order to stay vital. We can see that this rhythm
is also the key to sustaining our efforts to create what matters most for us.
Providing understanding and guidelines for balance in body, mind and spirit,
Ayurveda gives us Polarity Therapy as well as herbal healthcare to maintain the
flow of this vital energy throughout our mind and body. Ashwagandha can be taken
daily for its adapogenic or anti-stress effects. Formulas such as Geriforte by
HPS or Stress Ease by Banyan build energy reserves and increase our tolerance to
potentially stressful situations.
Polarity Therapy has been used for centuries to clear our wireless energy
system of painful blocks. Once energy circuits are reconnected, we feel
rejuvenated and relaxed as our vital systems have the energy they need to
function. The mind is like an empty vase of consciousness. We can choose our
feelings by the contents that we put in it. When we put in a relaxing sensation
created by Polarity Therapy, we feel energized and a sense of well being. With
each breath, we let the pleasure flow in and the stress flow out.
Biorhythm Charts- a useful tool for Energy Management
Biorhythm charts reveal the highs and lows periods of our vitality -
physically, emotionally and intellectually. They also forecast critical dates
upon which the individual, in a state of lease resistance, will be more
vulnerable to risks than normally. These dates do not correspond only to the
lowest points on the curves, as would seem logical, but also at the points at
which the curves intersect the axis, i.e. the phase changes. In other words, in
a critical day in which you find one or more low energy levels, it would be more
significant to consider your activity or decision making level than one in which
a critical day was balanced with other higher energy levels.
Awareness of your personal biorhythms can help you plan most opportune times
for making major decisons and other activities which may require higher physical,
intellectual or emotional energy levels. The challenging days are also a good
time rely on Ayurvedic formulas such as StressCare, Mental Clarity or Tranquil
Mind for support. You can receive your personal Biorhythms Chart for the current
month for free by emailing us your date and time of birth when you place an
herbal or product order.
Please Note: The above information has not been evaluated by the FDA and
is for reference purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical
advice or to diagnose or treat any disease.